Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February Happenings in the Studio

Happenings in the Studio (HITS) is a monthly review of what I have completed as a visual artist, which reminds me that even though progress feels slow, I am still moving forward. It’s shocking how quickly I forget what I’ve done when I’m not at my p/t picture framing job.

This article is a summary of everything that wouldn’t make sense in the slide show (click here to watch)

Vermont Studio Center

Because of the class I’m currently taking on how to get out of debt, it made me decide whether or not I’m going to the Vermont Studio Center for all of October for an art residency.

I applied for the art studio space in 2008 and was awarded a partial grant and work study to cover 1/3 of the cost. I was slated to go last October when the leaves would be changing, but I finally found a job after five months of looking into over a 100 jobs. I called the Vermont Studio Center and they were very understanding and let me reschedule for this October. Now my dilemma is that I have a part-time job, so where would I get the money to take a month off?
This debt class is helping me to sit down and look at the numbers instead of having it loom over my head. I wrote out how much money it would cost for the entire trip, including airfare, the studio fee, art supplies, money to pay my student loans for October and shipping the art that I make out there back home. Seeing the total cost for the art residency made me realize, that even if I had that money, right now I’d rather put it towards my student loans.

When I was a senior in college, it was stressed by the senior portfolio teacher that nothing was more important than spending hours looking for art residencies and completing the lengthy application process. Now I feel that unless I am awarded a full scholarship it wouldn’t be of a service to me right now. I already have space to work. I don’t need to go elsewhere to create.

One day I want to experience living in a community of enthusiastic and dedicated artists, but I don’t want the residency to take up as much time and stress as it has been preparing for the Vermont Studio Center. Even though I lost my deposit it feels really good to have made a decision.

Crocker Art Museum
Now that I am comfortable and confident at my job as a custom picture framer, I am looking for a second job. Thanks to a friend’s encouragement I am investigating at the Crocker Art Museum.
Until last week, I had no idea what museum job I would enjoy or would be qualified to do. Per usual I started my research by checking out two books on careers in art from the library and reading the job descriptions. The minimum requirement was to have an undergraduate’s degree. Since graduating in 2008, this was the second time I’ve been thankful to have a BFA. I also called up some friends who are artists and picked their brains about jobs that would match with my skills, and ends up there are a lot of options. I could be the assistant to the curator, preparator, conservator, or registrar. Right now I am modifying my resume for these positions.

Nomadic Virtual Assistant

I officially ended the virtual assistant business I never actually started, (minus the paperwork and website design). Last summer I felt like I was never going to get a job, so I thought doing something unprecedented for me would help since nothing else was working. So after talking to a friend of my mom’s who is a virtual assistant, I impulsively decided to start up my own business.

I got the business license and bank account all taken care of, but felt all sorts of internal resistance to finding clients. At the time I was on the computer all day, tweaking my resume, applying for jobs, uploading images to my online store, and doing whatever it would take to get some income. The last thing my tired eyes and bored bum wanted to do was sit at the computer doing data entry for a client.

Now that all of the paperwork is done and I am out of business, I feel less distracted by that nagging task of tying up the loose ends. Because of this experience it showed me not to be embarrassed that I’m analytical and that I make important decisions using a pro/con list, but to embrace it.

The local public library reopened and now it has tons more desks for me to use the free wi-fi! However I am very disappointed that the library check out system is now automated (no scanning needed), meaning they cut jobs in a time when skilled professionals should have work. I am torn, because perhaps the knowledgeable librarians would perhaps serve us better at an information desk, and leave the checking out of books to computers.

I am also bummed that the masks that use to line the ceiling were all taken down. I remember enjoying being spooked out by them when I was a little kid.

New Mindset
I am just about done with the book called “The Power of Now” by Tolle, which showed me how much I have despised the wall calendar. At the end of everyday I’d mark it off with a thick, red X, as if waiting for a time in the future when I’d have my own place and full time work. My Now isn’t horrible, by any stretch of the imagination, so why was I so eager to mark the day as finally over? Now I mark the days off with a green check mark, showing that it was happily completed.

Monkey Necklace, casting monkeys and drilling bouncy balls
Breaking form of sharing only completed artwork over the last month, I wanted to interject and share a work in progress. I’m experimenting with different materials to make a curtain that divides two rooms. One test was with casting monkeys from the barrel of monkey’s game and have them hang vertically from the ceiling along with bright green crazy straws. The other idea is to string colorful bouncy balls on fishing line. Right now I am waiting for bouncy ball samples to come in the mail so I can test drill them and see if they would be a feasible idea.

Cactus Lights
February was a month of Cactus Light advancements, particularly in making them more user friendly. I became aware of a turn dial on/off switch that is super easy to wire. And even cooler, is the dimmer touch pad that plugs right into the wall! I had another Cactus Light commission, this time for an insomniac who says the Cactus Lights help her sleep. It’s very rewarding to hear that my art has other functions other than being aesthetic and providing light. Plenty more is in the works for the lights. Stay tuned!

Art Field Trips:

1. Plaster casting party with some family friends. Three kiddos, their mom and I made images in play do, cast them into plaster, and then painted the objects. There was a steep learning curve since I was out of practice with this technique. That day we learned that playdo gets gooey when the plaster heats up in the mold, making it a bear to get the playdo off the cast. Another thing to keep in mind is to use thin walled plastic containers and not insulated soup bowls, since the walls are less flexible making it difficult to pop the plaster cast out of.

I wish I’d thought of taking photos that day, however this yellow monkey magnet is my creation.

2. Three of my cousins and I mixed up goo and homemade bouncy balls. I had found the bouncy ball recipe in January and I’ve wanted to test it out. Ends up they don’t bounce very well, unless it’s on a trampoline.

3. Went to San Francisco’s Pier 39 with my mom and the dog, armed with our cameras. The three of us went into all sorts of shops, where I even discovered some potential Christmas presents I’d love to give. The city is so artsy, with murals and sculptures everywhere. I find the city to be very inspiring.

Happy birthday Auntie and cousin K!

Click here for the slideshow of other artwork completed in February 2010.

HITS Table of Contents

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